PARIS—The Paris prosecutor’s office said on Tuesday that French actor Gerard Depardieu was charged in December with rape and sexual assault after authorities revived a 2018 investigation that was initially dropped.
The office told The Associated Press that Depardieu was not detained when he was handed the preliminary charges on Dec. 16, 2020. The prosecutor’s office addressed the charges after the case was leaked to French media.
Depardieu’s lawyer Hervé Temime was not immediately available for comment, but he has previously said that the actor “absolutely denies any rape, any sexual assault, any crime.”
French media reports said the charges relate to allegations made by an actress in her 20s that date back to 2018. An initial inquiry against the star was dropped in 2019 because of lack of evidence, but was later revived.
French newspaper Le Parisien and broadcaster BFM TV said the woman alleged that Depardieu assaulted her on Aug. 7 and Aug. 13, 2018 at his home in Paris. The two met when Depardieu led a master class at her school, BFM TV reported.
The actress, who has not been named, first filed a complaint with details of alleged rape and assault in August 2018 in the southern French city of Aix-en-Provence. The probe was take over by Paris investigators, but was soon dropped.
Depardieu, 72, is among France’s most well-known stars.
He has appeared in 200 films over six decades and is among a few French actors who have made a name for themselves in Hollywood. He won a Golden Globe best actor award for his performance in “Green Card,” a 1990 English-language romantic comedy co-starring Andie MacDowell.
His performance in the French-language “Cyrano de Bergerac” the same year won him the award for best male performance at the Cannes film festival, and a nomination in the best leading actor category at the 1990 Academy Awards.
His first big hit in France was “Les Valseuses,” (“Going Places”), Bertrand Blier’s classic farce about two wandering thugs.
Before crossing the Atlantic to star in “Green Card,” Depardieu played an array of roles, ranging from Jean Valjean, the thief-turned-saint in “Les Miserables,” to Christopher Columbus.
In 2012, Depardieu had a public falling out with the Socialist presidential administration in office in France at the time, accusing it of suppressing talent with the taxes it was levying on high earners. He said he was handing in his French passport and moving to a home he had bought in Belgium.
In 2013, Russian President Vladimir Putin granted Depardieu Russian citizenship. The actor received his new passport in person from Putin at the Russian leader’s residence on the Black Sea coast.
In 2014, he played the leading role in “Welcome to New York,” the film inspired by the life of Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the former director of the International Monetary Fund who was accused in 2011 of sexually assaulting a hotel maid.
Reuters contributed to this report.